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1 August 2012

Cottonwood trees being consumed by caterpillars

In Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, my students and I camped under the shade of cottonwood trees… But some of the cottonwoods’ branches were looking a little thin… Caterpillars were munching on their leaves. And some trees had been completely denuded by the voracious little larvae: All three photos are taken on roughly the same scale (note the Moon as a reference point in each!).


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6 July 2012

Friday fold: scenes from the trail to Bertha Lake

Given that I’m leaving tomorrow for the Canadian Rockies, I’ve been inspired to look through some of my photos from last summer, and to realize how few of them I’ve blogged so far. So let me show you some folded things today that Lily and I saw the afternoon we arrived at Waterton Lakes National Park in southernmost Alberta: Here’s a fold on the side of a mountain on the …


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2 April 2012

Castner Marble

The Castner Marble is an extraordinary Mesoproterozoic limestone (later re-crystallized and metamorphosed) that exhibits some primary structures (both explicit and ambiguous) and some secondary (tectonic) overprints. It’s exposed in the Franklin Mountains of west Texas.


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12 March 2012

Views of the Deep Springs Basin

A few shots from a week ago today, when my students and I were exploring the White Mountains of eastern California, just west of the Deep Springs Basin…


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29 February 2012

This is a plant?

Weird plant from South Africa, in the north-central portion of Table Mountain National Park: it’s just two leaves! How bizarre is that? Two enormous leaves emerging from the leaf litter, nothing more. In Namibia, Welwitschia also have just two leaves, but they are much longer (and more prone to getting tattered). I’d love to learn what this thing is – botanical experts, please chime in if you know.


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15 November 2011

Fall colors

Happening on campus, right now:


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1 June 2011

A couple of plants from Dolly Sods

It wasn’t just bugs that we saw at Dolly Sods, West Virginia, over the weekend. There were some plants, too. Here’s a look at the typical Dolly Sods scene, with spruce trees and aspen and alder and a boggy trail: “Lady slipper” orchid: Fiddleheads unfurling into ferns: And, of course, one of my favorite things to do with plants is to reverse the photosynthesis that constructed them:


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24 December 2010

GoSF6: Graywacke turbidites

The geological tour of San Francisco continues with an examination of the graywacke deposits of the


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7 September 2010

Dolly Sods

Over the long Labor Day weekend, my fiancĂ©e Lily and my friend Seth and I took a three-day backpacking trip in the Dolly Sods Wilderness area of West Virginia: Dolly Sods is a unique place, a little patch of flora that is more typical of Canada. It sits atop the eastern Continental Divide, and most of the area drains to the Gulf of Mexico via the Ohio River. Parts of …


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7 June 2010

A day in the field

I spent last Thursday on a long field trip in the Valley and Ridge province of northernwestern Virginia. Leading the trip was Dan Doctor of the USGS-Reston. Accompanying Dan was a UVA environmental science student named Nathan. And the NOVA crew rounded it out: professor Ken Rasmussen from the Annandale campus, associate professor Victor Zabielski from the Alexandria campus, and me. We met at the Survey at 9am, and headed …


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